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Peace Corps Prep Program

Are you ambitious and ready to make a difference in the world?

The Virginia Tech Peace Corps Prep Program is designed to prepare you for international development field work, international service careers, and Peace Corps service. Open to undergraduate students of any major, the Prep program pairs selected courses with leadership development and experiential learning to help you prepare for global service work.

How does the program work?

As a participant in the Peace Corps Prep Program, you’ll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support:

1.       Training and experience in a work sector

You will complete at least 3 courses and 50 hours of hands-on experience in one of the following Peace Corps work sectors. While the courses can come from your academic major or minor, it is not required:




Youth in Development

Community Economic Development

2.       Foreign language skills

Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the Peace Corps curriculum. Requirements vary by region:

  • Latin America: Individuals wanting to serve or work in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing two 200-level courses.
  • West Africa: Individuals wanting to serve or work in French-speaking African countries should be proficient in French (or, in some cases, any Romance Language), usually through one 200- level course.
  • Everywhere else: The Peace Corps has no explicit language requirements for individuals applying to serve in most other countries.

However, you will still likely learn and utilize another language during service, so it is only helpful to have taken at least one foreign language class. If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement.

3.       Intercultural competence

Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one’s own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three self-reflective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences.

Prolonged intercultural experiences—such as studying/volunteering abroad, supporting new Americans/immigrants in the community, or teaching in diverse schools—may partially fulfill this requirement.

4.       Professional and leadership development

Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. The Virginia Tech Prep Program requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for Peace Corps or any other professional endeavor:

1.       Have your resume critiqued by a career counselor in Career Services.

2.       Schedule an interview preparation session with a career counselor in Career Services.

3.       Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully. For example, organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, or serving on the executive board of a student organization

Interested in Applying for Peace Corps Prep?

  • Click on any of the Peace Corps sectors listed above to start your application.
  • Review of applications will begin when applications are submitted. Applicants will be notified within 2 weeks

If you have questions about the program, please read the Student Guide or contact Larry Vaughan at


Virginia Tech is among the top 20 large universities providing Peace Corps volunteers for two years of international development service.

For information about Peace Corps and guidance on the application process, contact Amanda Gurley, the Virginia Tech Campus Peace Corps Recruiter. (Returned Volunteer: Mongolia 2015-2018) at

Office Hours
Tuesday 3:30 - 5:30pm
Thursday 3:30 - 5:30pm

Smith Career Center. Room 271
870 Washington St SW
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA  24061

Alternative contact:
Larry Vaughan, recruiter supervisor
Center for International Research, Education and Development (CIRED)
(540) 231-2762